Readers' Letters: Sort mess out, then talk about Independence​​​​​​​

I am open to anyone's views from any political party. Whenever I see Scotland's services and infrastructure imploding and all I hear from our government is about Independence, it makes me so angry.

Get everything sorted out first and give me some confidence in our future and I'll assess it then.

Nicola Sturgeon assumes that every vote for her party in a devolved government is a vote for separation. It is not! Let her have a referendum now, abide by the decision and sort the country out.

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Perhaps rename the SNP something like The Scottish People's Party to avoid claims of an ad hoc referendum.

Widespread industrial action is just one issue facing the Scottish Government (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

Robert Shearer, Glasgow

More than ‘leave’

Murdo Fraser, in his column (Perspective, 30 November), made the mistake many others make, by referring to Scotland as “leaving the UK” (he said that four times).That's like claiming that decapitation merely leaves the rest of the body to carry on as before. Even a headless chicken no longer functions as a chicken.In fact independence for Scotland would result in the end of the UK because it means the end of Great Britain, the union formed in 1707. More should be made of this disastrous result, by expressly stating the consequence.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Different times

Eric Melvin is quite right when he says that the 1707 Union was not “voluntary” in present-day terms, but there again, what was in those days (Letters, 30 November)?

It could be argued that before universal suffrage in 1928 nothing was voluntary, as it was not put to a vote. The only vote on the Union to have been held was in 2014 and it was a resounding acceptance of the Union, with almost one quarter more people voting to remain part of the United Kingdom than voted to leave, so that is, by definition voluntary.

If we are to analyse the Union is terms of its legitimacy, then everything that went before must also be similarly analysed.

When he claims that Scotland had been “forced into a corner” in 1706, Coldingham kirk session records from the time, for example, pray for the Scottish “plantation”, ie Darien, a wholly Scottish enterprise which bankrupted the country. They regularly mention famine which stalked Scotland for many years. This was nobody’s fault but our own and, (arguably) divine intervention.

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Scotland, with one fifth of England’s population, but only one-fortieth of England’s wealth, sought prosperity and an end to famine. England sought security and a common Protestant succession. For all its faults, the Union gave each what it sought, but like EU membership, it has not always been to everyone’s taste.

Nothing before the Union was remotely voluntary. Decisions were made by kings and lords, not the people. That is simply the way it was, but to question the validity of the Union demands that everything that preceded it must also be questioned. Much will be found wanting.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Bad and good

Many of us will accept Eric Melvin’s justification on historical evidence that the 1707 union was no voluntary union; after all, neither Scotland nor England then was a democracy as we understand the term.

But over 300 years later, and like many others – including a majority of voting Scots only eight years ago – I query the relevance now of that flawed union process and believe that the UK has on balance been beneficial to both parties. It led inter alia to the Industrial Revolution (also a “warts and all” development) and to the Scottish Enlightenment, based on the flowering of our then superior education system, which succeeded the appalling theocratic diktats of the 17th century as described in Arthur Herman’s compulsive and stimulating book of that title and subtitled “The Scots’ invention of the modern world”.

It also led to the British Empire in which Scots played a disproportionate part, no doubt both positively and negatively, and which, also arguably, was on balance a beneficial global development (as the Roman Empire probably was too) despite its obvious brutality and criminality in some respects.

It must also be judged in relation to the certain or probable alternatives – in Africa, King Leopold’s Belgium and militaristic Prussia/Germany, whose record in their few colonies was unequivocally bad; and in Asia, particularly India, the totalitarian Russian/Soviet Empires, on which I trust no further comment is necessary.

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Finally, on an allied topic, I make no defence of our “Christian” participation in the slave trade, but it is high time that those like the Barbados prime minister (who may be the next UN Secretary General) demanding reparations from the UK publicly recognised that the trade depended almost entirely on the local West African chieftains and kings selling their captives to the traders, and thereby benefiting financially. So will reparations also be demanded from their descendants?

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife


Your front page picture of the Wallace Monument sitting above heavy fog was very evocative, given that for some, it represents Scotland and for others, is a symbol of nationalism (30 November). Two metaphors came to mind. One, that it represented Scotland's decline, slipping headlong into oblivion under the current SNP/Greens regime and the other, that it represented nationalism sinking back into its festering primordial roots.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Rent injustices

Is the Scottish Government’s no evictions and no rent increases policy leading to landlords being drawn into areas of social care but without the funding?

In one case recently a landlord needed to sell his rented property as he is finding it difficult to deal with the rising costs along with other problems, eg. his tenant already in arrears to the tune of £600. The landlord issued the tenant with a notice to quit but the Scottish Government’s ruling means that the tenant has the right to remain in the property. It went to a tribunal who assessed the case and the landlord was asked many intimate questions about his finances which he felt uncomfortable with.

The tribunal finally ruled against the landlord in compliance with the Scottish Government rules. Why is the landlord being compelled to provide for what is basically a social care service when surely that is the responsibility of the Scottish Government? I presume Nicola Sturgeon just did her usual and grabbed the headlines before even thinking of the consequences.

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William Macgregor, Edinburgh

Folding Green

The debts arising from a Green Transition will be over £450 billion if the cost of a back-up system to keep the lights on when the wind fails to blow is included in the total bill. Why, then, is there no agreement to set the date for Indyref2 once the debts over a Green Transition have been repaid if Scots accept that independence is irrelevant if we do not fix the climate?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Cough up

Clark Cross does not put any figure to his “people create greenhouse gases” claim (Letters 30 November).

The current world population produces annually about 2,500 million tons of carbon dioxide just by breathing. Increased carbon dioxide concentration in the air has increased world food production by about 300 per cent in the past half century (it’s the best of all fertilisers and vital for life on earth), but even then growers resort to greenhouses and polytunnels filled with that gas to increase production (vegetarians blame meat eaters as the major producers of dietary CO2).

All environmental protesters own the worst single carbon dioxide producer, the mobile phone – directly producing more CO2 than all the world's airlines, and raising the aspirations of the so-called Third World to approach western levels. Politicians who preach to the rest of us, of course, far exceed the average in greenhouse gas production – what, for example, was the CO2 cost of COP 27?

A McCormick, Dumfries

Bring in police

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It's clear from media reports that the Holyrood Committee and previously the Auditor General have struggled to obtain comprehensive information from Scottish Government ministers regarding the process surrounding the building of the much delayed and over-budget ferries at Ferguson Marine.

With £130 million of public money now apparently disappearing without trace, it's surely time for the Lord Advocate and the police to examine the machinations surrounding the whole messy business and ascertain whether there has been any criminality or merely gross incompetence once and for all. I am sure Nicola Sturgeon would welcome the opportunity to show that her promises of making Scottish Government actions more transparent and accountable are being kept.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Stirlingshire

Wrong song

Can somebody explain why the English football team, currently playing in the World Cup, are introduced to the strains of God save the King? That is the National Anthem of Great Britain, not exclusively of England. The other countries which form Great Britain have their own anthems, why should England have the British one? At the most recent Commonwealth Games an English success was greeted with Jerusalem, the reference to “England’s green and pleasant land” being totally appropriate.

Sandy Macpherson, Edinburgh

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